Michael Shermer Quotes

michael shermer quotes



The natural inclination in all humans is to posit a force, a spirit, outside of us. That tendency toward superstitious magical thinking is just built into our nature.


Mysteries once thought to be supernatural or paranormal happenings - such as astronomical or meteorological events - are incorporated into science once their causes are understood.


Religious faith depends on a host of social, psychological and emotional factors that have little or nothing to do with probabilities, evidence and logic.


Scientists are skeptics. It's unfortunate that the word 'skeptic' has taken on other connotations in the culture involving nihilism and cynicism. Really, in its pure and original meaning, it's just thoughtful inquiry.


I say you don't need religion, or political ideology, to understand human nature. Science reveals that human nature is greedy and selfish, altruistic and helpful.


Being deeply knowledgeable on one subject narrows one's focus and increases confidence, but it also blurs dissenting views until they are no longer visible, thereby transforming data collection into bias confirmation and morphing self-deception into self-assurance.


In my experience, people are usually fired for reasons having to do with budgetary constraints, incompetence or not fulfilling the terms of a contract.


The reason people turn to supernatural explanations is that the mind abhors a vacuum of explanation. Because we do not yet have a fully natural explanation for mind and consciousness, people turn to supernatural explanations to fill the void.


A Hubble Space Telescope photograph of the universe evokes far more awe for creation than light streaming through a stained glass window in a cathedral.


We should be exploring consciousness at the neural level and higher, where the arrow of causal analysis points up toward such principles as emergence and self-organization.


The case for exploiting animals for food, clothing and entertainment often relies on our superior intelligence, language and self-awareness: the rights of the superior being trump those of the inferior.


In comparison, Google is brilliant because it uses an algorithm that ranks Web pages by the number of links to them, with those links themselves valued by the number of links to their page of origin.


When religious believers invoke miracles and acts of creation ex nihilo, that is the end of the search for them, whereas for scientists, the identification of such mysteries is only the beginning. Science picks up where theology leaves off.


Ever since college, I have been a libertarian - socially liberal and fiscally conservative. I believe in individual liberty and personal responsibility.


The actual atoms and molecules that make up my brain and body today are not the same ones that I was born with on September 8, 1954, a half-century ago this month.


Science is not a thing. It's a verb. It's a way of thinking about things. It's a way of looking for natural explanations for all phenomena.


You have to know evolution to understand the natural world. And that cannot be a threat to people of faith. There's a serious problem if you are forced by your faith to reject the most well-supported theory in all of science.


Science operates in the natural, not the supernatural. In fact, I go so far as to state that there is no such thing as the supernatural or the paranormal.


As a social primate species, we modulate our morals with signals from family, friends and social groups with whom we identify because in our evolutionary past, those attributes helped individuals to survive and reproduce.


One of the features of a democracy is the disentanglement of the sacred from the secular because in religiously pluralistic countries, no one can legitimately claim special status by faith membership.




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